Local artist Shane McClatchey is already making progress in gaining exposure for his artwork. Not even a high school graduate yet, his pieces are in demand among some of New Jerseys best professional surfers and local surfers in general.
Shane has been using his love of the ocean and surfing to inspire his artwork for years now and will be taking his skills to art school this coming fall in Southern California.
With his images recently being seen on surfboards of our local pros and receiving exposure on ESPN.com, we wanted to know more about the young man. We sat down with him to find out more about on of our areas youngest, successful artisans.
Shane, you're still in high school yet you have found a way to network with local pro surfers and begin to draw graphics on their boards. How did this happen?
I met (Point Pleasant's) Tom Petriken through my brother, they grew up together. Others I have met out in the water, my band has played at some surf contests, and from lifeguarding on the beach in the summer.
Which local pros and local surfers in our area have you been providing with art work?
I have done a lot of boards for Tom Petriken along with locals from up and down the coast of New Jersey. I've done some boards for other lifeguards in Spring Lake that I work with.
Are you looking to progress with drawing on surfboards for fun or is it something that are looking into to try and make some money out of it?
It's always fun, whether I am getting paid or not. I would love to do it is a job, so I'm going to get into airbrushing and try and contact some local shapers and see about painting boards more regularly.
Most of the drawings you do are derived or related to the ocean. What inspires you? The surfing, the ocean or something else?
There are tons of things that are inspring, like a good song or a trip to a really cool place. But the ocean in general is very inspiring whether you're on a board or diving or on a boat somewhere. Growing up so close to the beach influences most of my artwork, it's really good subject matter. With all of the movement and life in the water it creates cool shapes and reflects good colors. When you're at the beach everyday it's hard to create art that isn't somehow related to the ocean.
When did you first discover your love for the arts?
I don't remember not drawing, but pretty early on I realized I liked to draw more than other things. Since fourth or fifth grade I've been carrying a sketch book everywhere I go. The more I did, the more I liked it to the point where my teachers had to take away my sketch book because I was drawing during class too much. It is a great way to keep me occupied all the time and relaxed.
What is your favorite medium to work with?
My favorite is probably painting boards with paint markers. I love how smooth the fiberglass is and how quick the paint moves. And instead of seeing it in a frame hanging on some wall I get to see it out in the water riding waves. It's cool to see pictures of a pro riding a board with my artwork too. I also really like to work with charcoal because it's so basic and can get a lot of contrast. And I've been getting into oil paint too which is really fun because it blends colors so good.
Is there any one subject you favor to paint than another?
I really like to paint waves. Especially after traveling somewhere and seeing so many different kinds of waves and how they all break differently. They're one of the hardest things to capture in artwork but once you figure out how they work they look beautiful. They show so much movement and make colors do interesting things. Anything from nature is good to paint because it all works perfectly which is nice to capture.
How does our local area help you progress in your art?
Local art is definitely an influence. We all draw inspiration from similar things being so close to the ocean but we have different interpretations of it. Seeing it from a different perspective helps you understand what they're seeing and you learn more about them. Seeing other artwork also helps you figure out what you like.
Do you feel as though this is a good place for a creative person to grow up or would you consider somewhere else to be more conducive to creating art? Say, New York City for example.
It's a great place for someone to grow up because there is a lot of nature which will keep the inspiration authentic, instead of growing up somewhere surrounded by shopping malls. Growing up in the city would be different but probably just as good because of all of the different cultures in one area. You can see classics in a museum and then check out local street art in the same day. This would make a young artist really think about what art is.
Jay Alders is a great example of a local artist that took his skills global. Do you consider artists that have been able to do that an inspiration or so you have another career in mind eventually?
Jay is a great artist and inspiration because he shows that it's not impossible to be an artist for a living and that working artists are real people. I'm not sure what I'm doing yet, just going to go to art school and see where that takes me. I'd love to design t-shirts for a surf company as a living.
How does it feel when you paint on a pro surfers board and a photo of them riding that board ends up in a magazine or an online photo feature and you can see the artwork?
It's a really cool feeling to see that because I know that other people are going to see it. that's why I love painting boards, my artwork becomes mobile and opens up to a wider group of viewers. I'd love to do it on a larger scale and paint more boards.
As for your art, what future plans do you have?
Next year I'm going to art school in Southern California at Laguna Art and Design. I'm going to major in Graphic Design with a minor in Fine Art so I can still learn how to paint as best I can. The graphic design will hopefully lead to a job in the surf industry designing things. That's as far as I want to plan for now. I'm sure there's more boards out there to paint.
Where can we see your work?
My artwork is on Facebook at Shane McClatchey Art, which I keep updated with all the artwork I do. I also have murals done at the restaurant Fins in Brick and at my high school. I'm working on getting an official website done, be on the lookout.